Thursday, February 28, 2019
Analysis of Burial at Thebes
The opening events of the play quickly establish the central conflict. Creon has decree that the traitor Polynices must not be given proper burial, and Antig mavin is the still one who will speak against this decree and insist on the sacredness of family. Whereas Antigone divulges no inclemency in a law that disregards the duty family members owe one another, Creons layer of view is exactly opposite.He has no use for anyone who places privy ties above the coarse good, as he proclaims firmly to the refrain and the sense of hearing as he revels in his victory over Polynices. Creons graduation speech, which is dominated by words such as principle, law, policy, and decree, shows the extent to which Creon fixates on government and law as the supreme authority. Between Antigone and Creon there crapper be no compromisethey both find absolute validity in the respective loyalties they uphold.In the struggle between Creon and Antigone, Sophocles audience would have recognize a genu ine conflict of duties and values. In their honorable philosophy, the ancient Athenians clearly recognized that conflicts can arise between two separate scarce valid principles, and that such situations call for practical judgment and mental retardation. From the Greek point of view, both Creons and Antigones positions are flawed, because both oversimplify ethical life by recognizing only one kind of good or duty.By oversimplifying, each ignores the fact that a conflict exists at all, or that deliberation is necessary. Moreover, both Creon and Antigone display the dangerous flaw of pride in the way they justify and carry issue their decisions. Antigone admits right from the beginning that she wants to carry out the burial because the action is glorious. Creons pride is that of a tyrant. He is headstrong and unyielding, unwilling throughout the play to listen to advice.The danger of pride is that it leads both these characters to overlook their own humilitary personnel finitud ethe limitations of their own powers. Oddly enough, the comical, underclass messenger is the only character to exhibit the uncertainty and careful advisement of alternatives required by practical judgment. The sentry has no fixed image of an appropriate pattern of action. He says that as he was coming to comport his message, he was lost in thought, turning back and forth, pondering the consequences of what he might say and do.The sentrys comic wavering seems, at this point, like the only sensible way of acting in this federation unlike Creon or Antigone or even Ismene, the sentry con situationrs the possible alternatives to his endow situation. As a comic character, the sentry offsets the brutal force of Creons will. Whereas the conflict between Creon and Antigone is a violent clash of two opposing, emphasized wills, Creons injustice is clearest when he promises to kill the sentry if the person responsible for Polynices burial is not found.The two times the Chorus speaks in this section, it seems to side with Creon and the established power of Thebes. The Choruss first speech (117179) separates the thwart pride of the invading enemy Zeus hates bravado and bragging. Yet this eulogy to the victory of Thebes through the graces of Zeus has a subtly critical edge. The Choruss focus on pride and the fall of the prideful comments underhand on the willfulness we have just seen in Antigone and will see in Creon.Few speeches in the Oedipus plays are more swollen with self-importance than Creons first speech, where he assumes the awesome task of setting the citys course and reiterates his decree against the traitor Polynices (199). The second choral ode begins on an approving note but becomes darker toward the end. This ode celebrates the wonder of man, but the Greek word for marvelous (deinon) has already been used twice in the play with the connotation of stately or frightening (the messenger and Chorus use it to describe the mysterious burial of the bod y).The Chorus seems to praise man for being able to get through whatever goal he sets his sights oncrossing the sea in winter, snaring birds and beasts, taming wild horses. But the point of the ode is that while man may be able to master nature by developing techniques to achieve his goals, man should formulate those goals by taking into consideration the mood and mind for law, justice, and the common good. Otherwise, man becomes a monster.In his first speech, Creon also uses imagery of mastery to describe the way he governshe holds the ship of state on course (180). The logical problem with Creons rhetoric is that maintaining the ship cannot be the final good or goal in life, as he seems to think. Ships voyage with some further end in mind, not for the sake of traveling. Similarly, the stableness of the state may be important, but only because that stability enables the by-line of other human goals, such as honoring family, gods, and loved ones.